Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

161

Etta Jones: Easy Living

Mathew Bahl By

Sign in to view read count
Easy Living, Etta Jones’ wonderful new CD, is a celebration of a reunion and a partnership. The partnership is, of course, Ms. Jones’ longstanding collaboration with Houston Person. Mr. Person has played on and/or produced nearly all of Ms. Jones’ recordings since 1976. The reunion is with pianist Richard Wyands who in 1960 played for Ms. Jones on her breakthrough album, Don’t Go To Strangers.

Ms. Jones’ nasal, instantly identifiable tone has only grown richer and more textured with age. Stylistically, she occupies the middle ground between Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. Ms. Jones tends to bend pitch radically and the slow deliberation of her ballad singing is somewhat reminiscent of Lady Day’s 1950s recordings. However, her affinity for the Blues comes out in the searing intensity of her singing and her habit of forcefully punching out a particular note or word. On up-tempo pieces, she swings hard and phrases with an almost joyful abandon. Ms. Jones breaks lyrics into short phrases that on paper might bear little relationship to proper conversational syntax. However, through the alchemy of art, she makes the meaning of every song utterly explicit and delivers lyrics with an honesty that defies traditional notions of interpretation. In fact, of today’s jazz singers, only Abbey Lincoln can match the sheer authority of Ms. Jones’ singing.

This CD, like nearly every Etta Jones record, contains songs associated with Billie Holiday (“Easy Living” and a deeply swinging “Did I Remember?”) and Nat Cole (the obscure “I Thought You Ought to Know”). She resurrects a little known Victor Young gem, “Our Very Own,” and turns up the tempo on two songs almost always performed as ballads, “They Say It’s Wonderful” and “Who Can I Turn To?” the Newley/Bricusse not the Alec Wilder tune). Mr. Person, one of the giants of the tenor saxophone, plays with exceptional grace and lyricism throughout the album. The depth of his collaboration with Ms. Jones especially shines through on the ballads. Ms. Jones and Mr. Person lend an unexpected resonance to “Something to Remember You By” and they deliver a powerful, near-definitive version of “I’m Afraid of the Masquerade Is Over.” Mr. Wyands and bassist Ray Drummond also take good advantage of their opportunities to solo.

Etta Jones has been a professional singer for over 56 years and her first recordings with Mr. Wyands and Mr. Person were 40 and 26 years ago respectively. However, Easy Living proves the truth behind the old adage that there really are some things that do get better with age.


Track Listing: Did I Remember?, Easy Living, After You

Personnel: Etta Jones: vocals; Houston Person: tenor saxophone; Richard Wyands: piano; Ray Drummond: bass; Chip White: drums.

Title: Easy Living | Year Released: 2000

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Live at Frankie's Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at Frankie's Jazz Club
By Jack Bowers
March 24, 2019
Read Asperger Album Reviews
Asperger
By Don Phipps
March 24, 2019
Read The Fire Each Time Album Reviews
The Fire Each Time
By Mark Corroto
March 24, 2019
Read NauMay Album Reviews
NauMay
By Jerome Wilson
March 24, 2019
Read Molly Tigre Album Reviews
Molly Tigre
By Chris M. Slawecki
March 24, 2019
Read School of Fish Album Reviews
School of Fish
By Dan McClenaghan
March 23, 2019
Read Blood Album Reviews
Blood
By John Sharpe
March 23, 2019